Living in the In-Between
As Christians we live in a vast in-between, living as natives of two worlds. With the Apostle Paul we can affirm “our citizenship is in heaven” (Phil 3:20), and can affirm with (possibly) misty eyes that we are “kind of homesick for a country to which I have never been before.” At the same time, however, this present world is where we work, raise families, have sex, and go on vacation. Jesus himself said, “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one” (John 17:15), so we are intended to live and play and minister in this world (broken though it is).
This tension, seen and felt in the Bible as well as the Christian life, has been called “The Indigenizing Principle and The Pilgrim Principle.” Stated simply, these two principles or inclinations are found both in the Bible and the human heart. We are called to be separated from this present world (2 Corinthians 6:17-18), yet we are called live and rub shoulders with unbelievers in the world (1 Corinthians 5:9). There is a balance to be found, but for most Christians we are inclined in one direction (extreme separateness) or another (extreme inclusiveness). You can read about more about this tension and the balance here, here, and here. The discussion of these two principles is fascinating, challenging, and helpful.
Finding the Balance
But how are we to navigate between these two strong yet opposing principles or inclinations? Are we forever doomed to bounce frantically between extreme conservatism and liberalism until Jesus returns?
The key to balancing these two inclinations is to see our greatest struggle and need as Christians: To view all things through the lens of Cross of Jesus Christ.
What we need is to see all aspects of life: money, sexuality, philosophy, entertainment, manhood and womanhood, missions, health, theology, and ten thousand other issues and topics in relation to the Cross of Christ. In other words, what we need is to view all life through “the spectacles of Scripture” as Calvin once put it, or as my wife once said, “Cross-Colored Glasses.”
In this way, we will deeply, seriously, and biblically consider all things – not simply as they appear to us but as they truly are in God’s view. Thus we will be able to demolish strongholds and take every thought captive for King Jesus (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). The result will be a much more holy yet balanced and considered life.
A Confession and A Purpose
I have said all of this, but I must all confess: I struggle to wear these glasses. I have by no means arrived at the ideal of Christian balance. Sadly, I suspect that I will never fully attain it.
I do not count myself (nor aim to be) a great culture warrior or apologist. I do not consider myself a great exegete or theologian. (I’m also really bad at minesweeper, but that’s beyond that point).
I am, however, a disciple of Jesus Christ. This blog is my account of how I am everyday attempting to extend the sovereignty of my King over every area of life and culture. Thus, I invite you, dear reader, to join me as I try to help us both look at all this life through Cross-Colored glasses.